The Blueprint for Discipleship - Mark 3:13-19

The Gospel According to Mark  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  40:00
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The Blueprint for Discipleship

How many of you have had the opportunity to work with blueprints for something in your life? Maybe you haven’t dealt with blueprints yourself, but you know what blueprints are and how they function. A blueprint is a design, a pattern, a plan that if followed, will give you the desired result, whether that’s a house, or parking garage, or a car, or something else., provided of course the blueprints are accurate and good.
Now, assuming you do have accurate blueprints, what happens when someone deviates from the blueprint? The results can be disastrous. Depending on the deviation, you could have an unstable structure, or an non-functioning machine. It is critical that the blueprints be followed.
Today we are going to look at Jesus’ design for discipleship. He set forth a blueprint and wants us to follow it.
Mark 3:13–19 ESV
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
We have just come out of a section where we see various groups rejecting Jesus on various levels. The religious leaders rejected Jesus and his claims outright and began to plot to kill Jesus. The crowds seemed to accept Jesus, but it was only because He was doing cool things and they wanted part of the action. They couldn’t see past the miracles to who Jesus really was, which is ironic because it was those same miracles that were intended to reveal who Jesus was. They didn’t want Jesus, they wanted to see something cool or to have Jesus fix their physical issues.
As we move into our passage this morning, we again see a contrast. The crowd just wants what Jesus can do instead of Jesus Himself. Jesus does not give himself to them, but rather selects twelve men to be with him.
As we look at this today, we have here a very important model. Jesus calls and commissions twelve men to do specific work, and that work is something that actually translates down to us as well.
Here Jesus calls twelve men to be his Apostles. Though we are not apostles and there are no apostles today since that was an office limited to the first century, these men were to serve as the blueprint for what it looks like to follow Jesus. The things that Jesus commissioned them to do, they were to pass those things on to others. And others did carry out the work and passed it on to others who passed it on and so forth. We are the fruit of that today. Isn’t that amazing? Now we have the opportunity to give to others what was given to us, as all we must do is follow the same blueprint.
Before we get into the blueprint, there are a few observations that I would like to make.
First, notice that Jesus is the one making the selection here. There are crowds of people following Jesus wherever he goes, but Jesus selects twelve men to form his inner circle. While it might not be that surprising to see that it is Jesus taking the initiative and making the selection, it is surprising who he has selected to form this core.
Jesus did not select a single person from the dominant religious community. There are no pharisees, no scribes, no members of the sanhedrin among the group that Jesus selects. Instead, He selects people like Peter, a common fisherman, who is consistently painted in less than flattering light throughout this gospel, James and John, the “Sons of Thunder” a nickname that likely refers to their boisterous personalities. We will find James and John making the presumptuous request of Jesus to sit at his right hand, a very self-serving request. Matthew is a hated tax collector who is viewed as a sellout and traitor to the Jewish people since he worked for the Romans; Simon the zealot belongs to a subversive political party that wants to overthrow the Roman government. Matthew and Simon likely would not have gotten along if they weren’t united under the call of Jesus. Judas is eventually going to abandon and betray Jesus. And then we have a handful of other men about whom we know next to nothing.
This is hardly a collection of super saints. This is a ragtag group of individuals that are going to carry out Jesus’ purposes and be an extension of His ministry. And that should be an encouragement to us. If God can work through these men, then there is hope for us. This blueprint wasn’t made based on some outstanding individuals. It was made with people like us in mind.
Second, It says that Jesus appointed twelve men, or ordained twelve men. This word actually literally means “to make” or “to create.” Jesus made twelve men to be his Apostles. This is significant because is shows us that Jesus took men who weren’t something and made them into something. He did something new with them. I liked how one commentator (James Edwards) put it:

Discipleship does not consist in what disciples can do for Christ, but in what Christ can make of disciples.

This also calls to mind
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Jesus made something new when he called these men out to be his Apostles, just like he makes something new of us when we come to faith in Him as well. Perhaps you’ve heard this saying before: Jesus doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. That’s truth to that and it is on display with the selection and the making of these men to be His disciples. Again, that should encourage us. Do we feel inadequate sometimes? I know I do! But Jesus consistently works through inadequate people.
So what then is the blueprint? What does Jesus want from his disciples?
There are two things Jesus calls them to do: he appoints them to
Be with Him
Be sent
to proclaim
to serve
That’s the blueprint. That’s the model that Jesus sets up, a model not based on model men, but based on the model leader, Jesus Christ. Those who follow him are to be with him and are to be sent out to do his work. Let’s look at the components of the blueprint.

Be With Jesus

When Jesus called these men to be his Apostles, He first and foremost was called them to be with him. We cannot miss the significance of this. The terminology of being “with” Jesus immediately should cause us to think in discipleship terms, but this makes us take a step back and realize that discipleship is a relationship before it is a task, a who before it a what.

Discipleship is a relationship before it is a task, a “who” before a “what.”

Jesus wasn’t looking for a group of guys to be part of his fan club, or some bros to hang out with. He was calling them to live their lives with him, learn from Him, and emulate Him. They were to go with him wherever he want, do whatever he did, experience whatever he experienced. This meant seeing some incredible things. Blind eyes opened, deaf ears unstopped, mute tongues speaking, lepers healed, demons driven out, storms quelled, food multiplied and more! But this also mean experiencing all the hardships with Jesus as well. They too were ridiculed, harassed, and ultimately suffered greatly at the hands of those who reject the Lord.
Being with Jesus leaves an unmistakable mark. We see that Peter was recognized as having been “with” Jesus—but he denied it:
Mark 14:67 ESV
and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
Later Peter and John were recognized as having been with Jesus when they were teaching in
Acts 4:13 ESV
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.
The more time that is spent with Jesus, the more recognizable that mark becomes.
Check out
2 Corinthians 2:15–16a ESV
For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?
This is what being with Jesus does. It leaves an unmistakable mark on us that is like a fragrance. People can just tell. They smell it. To some it is pleasing and leads to life. To others it leads to death because they reject the source of that fragrance--Jesus Christ--and thus the aroma is repugnant to them.
But it comes from being with Jesus. Jesus is the teacher: he instructs us on how to live. He is the King: he has authority over us. He is Wisdom personified, in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, and he will willingly impart those treasures to us if we are willing to invest the time necessary, if we are willing to be with him.
Jesus called the Apostles to be with him, and they spent 3 years physically by his side during his earthly ministry. Jesus calls us to be with him as well. What does it look like now? Obviously he isn’t physically here, we can’t walk the streets with him and hold face to face conversations with him. But there are other ways we can be with him.
In fact, I suspect that you already know how to be with him.
Through the word and through prayer.
We meet with Jesus every time we study His word. When we read in private, when we gather to hear the word preached in public. The Holy Spirit takes His word and He applies it t our hearts and conforms and shapes us to be more like Jesus Christ.
When you are privately reading through portions of Scripture and something sticks out to you and it changes how you think about things and you live more like Christ as a result…That’s the holy Spirit making you smell like Jesus.
Do you want to be like Jesus? Do you want to be the aroma of Christ? Get into His Word until the word gets into you.
That’s not the only way we spend time with Jesus. Through the word, yes, but also through prayer. We commune with him. We share our hearts with him. He molds us and shapes us, even through our prayers, and then we get to see Him use our prayers to accomplish his purposes.
Jesus calls his disciples to spend time with him. This is the first aspect of the blueprint, and the rest of the blueprint depends on this. If we aren’t doing this, we either aren’t his disciples or we are very poor ones. Both scenarios should bother us incredibly. If we aren’t doing this, we are deviating from God’s perfect blueprint for who he wants his disciples to be.
Maybe you do spend much time in study of the Scriptures and prayer. If that’s the case I’m glad to hear it. What you need to know is that spending time with Jesus is not an end in itself. Jesus calls us to spend time with him so that we would be equipped to extend the ministry of Jesus to those around us. That is the next component on the blueprint
Mark 3:14–15 ESV
And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.

Be Sent...

We were never called to be Jesus’ disciples so we could keep to ourselves this message of Christ. Christ called us in to send us out. Jesus’ desire is for the nations to trust him, and we are his instruments through which that will happen. Disciples spend time with Jesus in order to be sent out to do two things: 1. Proclaim Him, and 2. Serve.

…To Proclaim

There is a purpose to the sending. Jesus didn’t send the disciples out so they could do whatever they felt like. They were sent out with a purpose.
We need to note something about the word preach. This word for preach simply means to proclaim, to herald, to announce, or publish. We hear this term “preach” and think of people like myself standing in front of a group of people and talking, but that doesn’t do justice to what is going on. Sometimes the context might imply that, but not always. If you were to look up this word for preach and find everywhere it is used in the NT, you would find that it is almost always used in connection with the Gospel. This is about the proclamation of the Gospel, and that proclamation takes place in a variety of contexts. Sometimes it a public preaching, sometimes it a private proclamation with individuals.
Jesus’ blueprint for discipleship not only has his disciples spending time with him and learning from him, but it necessarily involves us going out and sharing the things we have learned with others.
You have heard this illustration before.
In the land of Israel there are two seas, two large bodies of water. The first is the sea of Galilee, the second is the dead sea. The sea of Galilee is teaming with life. 27 different species of fish, vibrant colors, lush shores with vegetation. The dead sea on the other hand has no fish whatsoever. It does not support animal life, plant life, or human life. The water is considered toxic to drink. Both of these seas are fed by the same river; the Jordan river flows into both. Why are they so different? Here is the difference: The Sea of Galilee has an input and an output. The Jordan river flows in, and the Jordan river flows out. This keeps the water fresh and provides the rich environment for vibrant life. The dead sea has an input, but no output. The Jordan river flows in, but there is nothing that flows out. The water stagnates and simply evaporates, leaving behind a high concentration of salt and minerals.
If we have input through time in God’s word, but never go out and share that with others, we will be like the dead sea. Stagnate. The input eventually evaporates and isn’t put to good use. But if we receive and then give, there is life! We must share with others what we learn.
When it comes to a life of discipleship, this only makes sense. Being a disciple means we follow after the teacher, learning to think how he thinks so we can speak how he speaks. When a Rabbi taught a learner, he did not expect that learner to remain in his physical presence for forever, but intended that learner to go out and teach others. That is Jesus’ expectation for us as well. We spend time with Jesus, but then go out and teach others.
Now, you might be thinking “yeah, but I don’t know enough. I’m not eloquent enough. I have too much to learn”
And you’re absolutely right. You don’t know enough. You’re not eloquent enough. You do have more to learn. And I don’t know enough, I am not eloquent enough and I have more to learn. We all do!
But remember with me who Jesus chose as his initial crop of disciples. Not exactly an all-star cast of characters. Jesus has to continually correct their understanding of his teachings. We are going to run into that in the next couple of chapters of Mark. But did that stop Jesus from choosing these men for the task? No. But more time we spend with Jesus, the more we understand his word and are able to communicate it to others.
He sent the disciples out to proclaim, but that’s not all they did. They also were sent to serve others.

…To Serve

He appointed twelve to be with him, to send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
Now, are y’all ready to cast out some demons? There are a few things to understand here.
There is a literary device called synecdoche. Synecdoche is when the part of something is substituted for the whole. So when refer to a “hired hand” we aren’t just talking about a person’s hand, right, but rather the whole person. I believe that’s what we have going on here. The text says “cast out demons” and that is part of the whole of the ministry which would have included healing, casting out demons, and other acts of mercy ministry. The reason for that is that as we look and see what the Disciples are doing in Mark and the other Gospels, its more than just driving out demons. So this refers to the whole aspect of the mercy ministry.
Jesus preached and healed and drove out demons. His disciples were to do the same. And later on we will have accounts of the disciples doing exactly that. They preach, they heal, they drive out demons. All part of the discipleship blueprint.
but that’s the blueprint, how do we follow that?
Be with him, we can do that. Prayer and Bible Study. Proclaim the message of Christ, that is doable as well.
What are we to do about the miracles? Here at Pillar we believe that the sign gifts have ceased, so what are to do with that?
Though we may not have been granted authority to perform miracles and cast out demons, we are still called to emulate Jesus and follow his example. The signs and miracles are no longer necessary because they served a specific purpose of authenticating the message, and that has been accomplished. But we can still have compassion for those around us. We can still love, care, and serve those around us.
Not only can we do these things but we must do these things. Jesus gives a summary of his ministry later in the book, take a look:
Mark 10:45 ESV
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Jesus came to serve. If we are his disciples we too must serve.
This service can take a variety of form, but we must be engaged in this activity. Jesus specifically set this up as part of the blueprint for discipleship. Who are we to deviate from that?
This morning we talked through our core values.
Sound Bible Teaching. Theo-centric worship. Fervent Prayer. Be with Jesus.
Gospel-driven outreach. sent out to proclaim
Others-oriented service. sent out to serve.
Those are the three essential components to true discipleship. If you want to follow Jesus’ blueprint and be the disciple He wants you to be, then you will be engaged in these things. It may not look the same as the person next to you, but those elements must be there. If we leave something out, we deviate from the blueprint and run the risk of being a dead-sea disciple.
So spend time with Jesus. Read His Word, spend time in prayer. Proclaim the gospel. Even if you feel like you don’t know enough you can start with what you do know and share that. And serve others.
Let’s pray
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